Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s James Marsters Recalls Awkward Encounter With Joss Whedon

James Marsters as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002)

Joss Whedon hit headlines in a big way after Justice League star Ray Fisher accused him of “unprofessional” behavior during his time working on the film. These claims have led some to wonder about Whedon’s conduct on some of his other productions. Of course, one of his most notable works is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and one of the show’s alums, James Marsters, recently recalled a weird confrontation between him and the writer/director.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters played Spike, a vampire who was initially introduced as a villain during the second season before becoming an unlikely ally and love interest for Buffy Summers. Spike would quickly become a breakout character and would remain on the show far longer than intended.

However, James Marsters recently explained that Joss Whedon resented being asked to create the character due to the fact that he didn’t want another “romantic vampire” like David Boreanaz’s Angel. Apparently, Spike also contradicted Whedon’s goal to steer away from the trope of having physically attractive vampires. With this, Marsden revealed to Michael Rosenbaum on his podcast -- Inside of You -- that Whedon confronted him about his character, leading to a rather awkward conversation:

I came along, and I wasn’t designed to be a romantic character. But then the audience reacted that way to it. And I remember he backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead. You hear me? Dead. Dead!’ And I was just like, ‘Uh, you know, it’s your football, man. OK.’

Marsters would go on to say that Whdeon wasn’t kidding and didn’t apologize for the incident. But he also added that Whedon wasn’t so much angry at him as he “was angry about the situation” that led to Marsters’ character being created.

It’s hard to deny that James Marsters’ story is a bit odd, to say the least. It’s one thing to be honest with your actor regarding the details of their role. But confronting him or her in that manner probably isn’t the best course of action.

While this is definitely a strange story, it’s far from the most controversial account of Joss Whedon’s beheavior on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Recently, stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt claimed that Whedon became difficult to work with as the show became successful. He also alleged that the writer caused him to lose employment opportunities later in his career.

All in all, James Marsters doesn’t appear to hold any hard feelings against Joss Whedon. Though he says he's not keen on reprising his role as Spike, he did tell Michael Rosenbaum that he would work with the Avengers director again if he was asked. We’ll see if the two reunite on a brand-new IP or on Whedon’s upcoming Buffy reboot.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is now available to stream on Hulu.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.